Intellectual property includes patents, copyrights, trademark, design rights and registered designs. Although most forms of intellectual property are often intangible, you have a legal right to protect it. In order to protect your creative work and ideas, you are required to register as the owner of the Intellectual Property Office. This formal process of registration by the owner is needed for patents, trademarks, and registered designs. Other forms of intellectual property, such as copyright and design rights automatically arise upon creation. However, that doesn’t mean that intellectual property is protected from a third party’s independent creation. You get automatic right only from copying. Modern business, especially since the rise of the digital media and the Internet, has seen an increase in the creation of IP. However, now is easier than never to for someone to steal your work. Hiring a lawyer is the first step of successfully protecting your intellectual property. With the help of Livingston Loeffler – intellectual property lawyers, you can reclaim your patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret rights. Now let’s take a closer look at how can you protect different types of intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.
Patents and Trademarks
A patent that is approved by the government gives the owner 20 years monopoly on an original invention. Patents also intend to encourage investment in research and development, and they are divided into three groups – design, utility, and plant. Design patents protect innovations in the appearance of an item, but not in its structure or function. Utility patents are used only for entirely new inventions including machines, articles of manufacture, industrial processes and so on. Lastly, plant patents are used to protect innovations in plant life, such as discovering new species of plant. However, this type of plant, in order to be patented, should have been created from the reproduction of cuttings and grafts of existing plants. A patent lawyer can significantly come to your aid by researching previously granted patents for you and seeing whether or not similar products have already been patented. An attorney can also help you determine whether or not you should patent your invention at all. Sometimes, an idea is not patentable if it includes the law of nature, something abstract or a physical phenomenon. An intellectual property attorney will assist you by prosecuting your patent application and registering it with the US patent office.
Trademarks include words, names, symbols or devices that distinguish different businesses and services. Trademarks can include arbitrary names, suggestive names, and descriptive names that indicate the products or the services of your business. Generic and some descriptive names cannot be protected. In order to make sure you can qualify for trademark right, you must consult a specialized lawyer. Trademark attorneys can also help you ensure that your new business isn’t using a registered mark and infringing on someone’s rights. The consequences for using a registered mark, as you may guess, include being sued for infringement.
Copyrights and Trade Secrets
Copyrights protect one’s expression of an idea, but they don’t protect the idea itself as in case of patents. People usually copyright writings, music, dance, art and so on. If you come up with an idea or invention for a company, it is possible to patent or trademark it by a company you work for. However, copyright will still belong to you. Business trade secrets can be protected if they have an independent economic value to the enterprise.